A claims company has been ordered to stop repeating misleading statements about birth injuries and clinical negligence. 

The Advertising Standards Authority ruled that National Injury Claimline Ltd, which trades as The Medical Negligence Experts, misled visitors to its website earlier this year. 

The Manchester-based outfit explained how it could help potential claimants and set out the scope of its work. This included stating that birth injuries ‘happen when medical experts either fail to follow the correct procedures, or they carry them out in a substandard manner’. The website also stated that cerebral palsy was a term used to define ‘brain damage that results from a lack of oxygen during pregnancy or birth’. 

One complainant told the ASA the most common cause of a birth injury was tragic accident and not medical negligence. They also suggested that the wording suggested a misunderstanding of the many causes of cerebral palsy. 

The claims company said it did not believe the advertisement implied there was only one cause of birth injury, and it was only intended to refer to negligence-linked causes of cerebral palsy. 

The Medical Negligence Experts said the words ‘they happen’ would not be repeated in future and that they would change the wording of the claim to ‘may happen’ or ‘may happen through other non-negligent causes’. 

The ASA upheld the complaint and said the target audience was ‘particularly susceptible’ to advertising from a firm offering to help make a claim, and more likely to believe specific claims made about that service. 

Because the advertisement implied that cerebral palsy was caused only through lack of oxygen supply during childbirth due to medical negligence, the ASA concluded that the claim was misleading. It must not appear again in the same form.